Greenwood Elementary

City/Town: Hot Springs
Location Class: SchoolGovernment
Year Built: 1939
Year Abandoned: 2009
Status: Abandoned
Photographer: Michael Schwarz

The large sign, hand-written with bold sweeping letter on white poster board, authoritatively proclaims:

Class Room Rules:

1.       Everyone is to be in their assigned seat.

2.       Everyone will speak only when called on by the teacher or aide.

3.       Only do what you have permission to do.

4.       Treat each person the way that you want them to treat you.

greenwood_school1stgradeNot necessarily the rules that we all grew up with in school…but then again, the old Summit School wasn’t necessarily always like most schools.  Originally built as Greenwood in 1939 as a regular elementary school within the Hot Springs community, the school began losing attendance in the 1980’s, it was finally closed in 1993, and it then sat abandoned.  But not for very long, though.

It was reopened in 1994 at which time it became known as the Summit School – an educational facility for at-risk students that were unable to function well within the more traditional educational settings. These students, often suffering from behavioral-based problem’s, frequently found an environment better suited to their more problematic learning needs within the Summit School.  And the school was very successful in its second life, too.  The school was so successful in its special mission that, in 2009 a brand new, more modern facility was specifically constructed to house the growing facility.

And the old Greenwood Elementary School in Hot Springs sat empty, again.

As is often the case with such buildings, it would cost too much to tear the school down and clear the land and nobody’s really clamoring for the property anyway, so the local school district is simply using the deserted building as storage.  But only the bottom floors.

greenwoodschoolteachers1950sAll of the rooms on the top floor remain very much as they were left on that last day of school back in 2001.  Student desks still sit in their special seating arrangements, al geared toward the most effective classroom management patterns.  Posters still adorn many of the walls.  Chalkboards and dry erase boards still contain their last messages rooted in those final days of learning.  Teacher’s desks still rest in the corners of their classrooms that provided the best views of all of the students on a simultaneous basis.  Piles of papers and manila folders full of even more papers remain stacked on those desks, perhaps representing that one last round of work that departing teachers opted to leave undone, resting secure in the knowledge that they would not be returning to it.   Framed pictures continue to provide educationally themed decorations.   Having been originally built in the 1930’s, all of the classrooms have very tall and expansive windows geared toward allowing maximum illumination by the sunlight, but now the curtains over those majestic old windows remain closed to be opened no more.  And hundreds of antiquated wooden  seats, all arranged in a multi-tiered bleachers-style format, all stare emptily out over a spacious wooden gymnasium floor, it’s shiny luster gradually loosing it’s battle with the years that are no assaulting it.

And the outside of the building?  The outside of the building looks just like an image pulled out of time and the passing reminder of another day.  The old facility’s archaic red brick facades, tall square chimney, high reaching banks of windows, all lend themselves to a much earlier day. Those were far simpler times.



  1. I went there in 1st , 2nd and 3rd grade, 1966 , 67 and 68… my brother went from 1962 to 1967.. we both had some of the same teachers

  2. I went to Greenwood School from 1956 to 1962. My teachers were Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. True, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Byers, and Mrs. Freeman. Doris Hull was the music teacher for 5th & 6th grades.

  3. I am planning on another “road trip vacation” late this spring with my two grandsons and my eldest daughter to Colorado and New Mexico. We will spent at least a full day or more in Hot Springs. This maybe my last opportunity to show the boys and daughter some of the places I tried to grow up, but never have.
    I am sure they will be impressed with Hot Springs and Gramp’s grade school and McCard’s BBQ.

  4. Nancy Ruth Smith on

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I attended Greenwood for 1st through 6th grades, 1953-1958: Mrs Stewart, Mrs True, Miss Breshears, Ms Burke, Mr Henry, Mrs Hull. 😃

    • Larry Giuliani on

      I was there in the 6th grade (Sep 1956 – May 1957) with Mrs. Hull. She was the music teacher for the school and did all the holiday musicals. I have never forgotten the last day of practicing for the Christmas Program when she told me how much she wanted me to be in the program, but asked me to sing the songs silently. The other memory of that program was the boy who sang solo "O Holy Night" I had a similar request when the band teacher scheduled us to be a part of a parade somewhere down town (Memorial Day ,maybe.)

      Started 7th Grade fall 1957 at Central Junior High because our new Junior High (Southwest?) was not ready. I can't remember exactly how long, but sometime during that semester, Southwest was opened and I attended there until my father was transferred to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio

      My closest friends included: Ronnie "Screwdy" Pittman, Tommy ?Melton?, Larry Patterson, Owen Shematis(sp?).

      I still have my "Junior Deputy Sheriffs badge for being on the safety patrol.

  5. mike sullivan on

    Also, we were in the gym or the auditorium for music appreciation in 2nd grade when the principal, I think his name was Mr. Mosher, came in and told us that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.

    • Mike,
      I attended Greenwood from 1948 to 1954. (See my previous postings below from 2014 and 2016.)
      Mrs. Stewart was also my first grade teacher. A very good one as I recall. She paid attention to everyone and was extremely interested in “her students”. She would always speak to and check on “her students” through out their career at Greenwood. As I remember there were two teachers for each grade so half of all the students were hers.
      She got me of to a good start in my education. I wish my daughters could have been “her students”.
      I would like to hear from you about your time at Greenwood Elementary.

      • Thank you JIm.

        I don't recall a lot from back then and only attend a few years, I recall the playground where we had these plastic "jet pilot helmets" and we would run down the grounds with our arms spread making jet sounds! Also there was a boy that would sit up on the parallel exercise bars and he would just fall off the back, flip in the air and land on his feet! I was always too chicken to try it!

  6. Chanda "Blue" R. on

    I went to school there from 76 to 82 and remember Mr. Burroughs as the principal who very patiently tolerated me and my madness. It is sad to see the school in such dire conditions, but glad to have the memories of being there.

  7. I attended Greenwood starting in September 1948 until May of 1954 for the 1st thru the 5th grades. I am the blond kid in the class picture on the back row second from the left. Mary Moran is the girl to my left. Our first grade teacher was Mrs. Stewart and she is the lady in the faculty photo on the back row second from the right. Our second grade teacher was Miss Mailis who is standing to the left of the principal (whose name I cannot remember). There were only 16 or 17 teachers in the entire school because there were only 14 classrooms. The administrative staff was the principal, two assistants and the janitor. Off duty teachers handled some of the office paper work. I later attended college with one of the teacher's son and visited with his family 14 to 16 years later. We sent a lot of time re-visiting our days at Greenwood School. I am very sad to see the Summit School has a 1 out of 10 rating, no matter what this article says. To be a 1 out of 10 Arkansas is really a bad school!

    • I have done a little further research/remembering and have found that there were no school buses that served the school. Everyone walked, rode a bicycle, a city bus (5 cents round trip with a transfer for the ride home) or were dropped off by a parent. Lunch was 15 cents with one carton of milk (pint). I had forgotten about the cafeteria cooks who numbered about five and they did all the cooking and cleanup. Fish sticks or salmon croquets on Fridays and no pizza ever (had not found its way to Arkansas yet). We had to wipe our plates clean if we did not finish everything on them and stack them in the kitchen portal. The eating tools went in a separate tub. There was a 15 minute recess at 9:00 AM and another at 2:00 PM. School started at 8:00 AM sharp and we were dismissed at 4:00 PM, unless you had to “stay after school”. Bad stuff! Starting in 1952 the third grade and up got out at 4:30 PM.
      Enough about all that!

      • Jeanette Groves Sapp on

        Hi Jim, I am Jeanette Groves, the oldest of the 4 Groves children. Not sure which duplex you lived in but we were neighbors and attended Greenwood school. Carolyn Groves Silvester and Jerry (Madison J. Groves) also attended prior to it's closing, probably Robbie was born in 55 so he was there also. Nice to read all the memorabilia written about Greenwood School. So sad to see how abandoned it is. The land would be valuable, I would think.
        Thanks for posting.
        Jeanette Groves Sapp

        • Jeanette,
          I just found your reply. I am switching from 30+ years of using a PC to and Apple iMac and it is painful and disconcerting. Therefore slow to look at one of my favorite nostalgia sites.
          If I remember correctly, I may have been familiar with your family from their being in the construction industry in Hot Springs. Is that right? Maybe in the Iron Worker or Steel Erection business?
          We lived at 1624 Greenwood which was square across the street from the front entrance on the left side of the school. Rent was $27.50 per month plus utilities if I remember correctly. Living room, small dining area, kitchen, one bathroom (of course) and two bedrooms. Great neighbors as I recall. Nice front porch for visiting and sitting out side on very hot summer nights listening to radio and seating bugs.
          We moved over to South Patterson in 1950 to a rental home that was much larger and had a garage and large yard.
          Some of my friends were Joe Pender, Ed Sullivan, Eddie Springs and Mike Dacus.
          Would like to hear more about your memories of Greenwood and Hot Springs in that era.
          Thanks for your reply,
          Jim Barber

    • Because of this website and all the memories it invoked, on a drive-around vacation this pasted October to Colorado and New Mexico, I re-routed my trip thru Hot Springs for a couple of days and visited a bunch of the places I remembered from my time there from 1948 thru 1954. One of the first places was Greenwood Elementary School. Unfortunately and sadly, the photo essay and text are very accurate. It was sad to see the Abandoned Arkansas website on the school but to see it in person was truly heart hurting. I spent about 1.5 hours walking, looking, sitting, photographing and remembering my time there. For the first two years that we lived in Hot Springs, my parents rented a duplex house just directly across the street from the school. It is still there and is still a rental property.
      I went around the corner to McClard's BBQ and meet the son of my classmate and baseball buddy, Joe McClard who had passed away some years before. BBQ is still as good as or better than I remembered from 60+ years ago, or is that just nostalgia. I was very glad to met him and see that the BBQ business has been good for the family for so long.
      Also very sad to see so many Hot Springs landmarks on this website.

      • I am planning on another “road trip vacation” late this spring with my two grandsons and my eldest daughter to Colorado and New Mexico. We will spent at least a full day or more in Hot Springs. This maybe my last opportunity to show the boys and daughter some of the places I tried to grow up, but never have.
        I am sure they will be impressed with Hot Springs and Gramp’s grade school and McCard’s BBQ.

  8. I went there for third grade, had Mrs. Sexton. My grandfather was the principal there for many years. I have alot of memories going all over that place. The pictures are upsetting on how the building was left after being the Summit School.

  9. I attended 1st-4th grade here. 1966-1970. Many good memories in those classrooms and gym! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Belinda M. Golden on

    I went there from the 1st grade thru the 6th grade….
    Tht was over 50 yrs ago. … it's a shame how the history has
    Been neglected. ….
    Belinda M. Golden- Webb

    • They had classes there until Spring 2009. They they moved the Summit school off of Park Avenue and Park to Main Street.

  11. You don't happen to know if they would sell any the books and stuff out of it do you? Or do you know who/how to get in touch with someone to ask if they would?

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